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Drug Use Among Gay and Bisexual Men at Weekend Dance Parties: The Role of Intentions and Perceptions of Peers’ Behaviors

Abstract

Substance use is high among gay and bisexual men attending weekend dance events, yet little research has investigated motivations for drug use and contextual factors influencing use in these settings. We hypothesized that beliefs about peer drug use interact with individuals’ own drug use intentions to predict use. 489 men attending weekend dance events completed an anonymous assessment asking about their own and their beliefs about other attendants’ drug use intentions—47 % completed a follow-up assessment after the event. Forty-four percent reported intending to use ecstasy at the event; intentions to use GHB, marijuana, cocaine, unprescribed erectile dysfunction drugs, and poppers were also high. Perceptions about other attendant’s drug use predicted use among those intending and those not intending to use drugs. Normative beliefs are important predictors of drug use at weekend dance events; event-specific prevention strategies should encompass messages that correct misperceptions of drug use among party attendants.

Resumen

El uso de drogas y alcohol es elevado entre hombres homosexuales y bisexuals que asisten a bailes de fin de semana. A pesar de esto, se ha realizado poca investigación acerca de las motivaciones para el uso de droga asi como acerca de los factores contextuales que influyen en el uso de droga en estos entornos. Nosotros planteamos la hipótesis de que las expectativas acerca del uso de droga entre pares interactúan con la intencion de usar droga de cada individuo, asi prediciendo el uso de droga. 489 hombres en bailes de fin de semana completaron un cuestionario anónimo en el que formulamos preguntas acerca de las propias intenciones de usar droga, y las expectativas de cada individuo acerca de la intencion de uso entre otros hombres en el evento. El 47 % completaron un cuestionario de seguimiento luego del evento. 44 % reportaron intención de usar ecstasy durante el evento; intenciones de usar GHB, marihuana, cocaína, drogas contra la disfunción erectil no ventas bajo receta, y poppers tambien eran elevadas. Percepciones acerca del uso de drogas de otros hombres en el evento predice el uso entre los que tenían y los que no tenían intención de usar. Las creencias normativas son vaticinadores importantes del uso de droga durante los bailes de fin de semana. Estrategies de prevención específicas para cada evento de este tipo deben incluir mensajes que corrijan las distorciones en la percepción de uso de droga entre los que asisten a estos bailes.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (5R03DA026724-02, Principal Investigator: Ramchand).

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Correspondence to Rajeev Ramchand.

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Ramchand, R., Fisher, M.P., Griffin, B.A. et al. Drug Use Among Gay and Bisexual Men at Weekend Dance Parties: The Role of Intentions and Perceptions of Peers’ Behaviors. AIDS Behav 17, 1540–1549 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-012-0382-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-012-0382-z

Keywords

  • Gay
  • Bisexual
  • Peer
  • Drug use
  • Ecstasy